National Archives and Records Administration - Local Identifier 127-G-4812 - The Pittsburgh - Silent uncataloged footage from the National Archives. Pollywogs and Shellbacks make merry when the Pittsburgh crosses the equator. DVD copied by IASL Master Scanner Timothy Vollmer.
January 26, 2012 Subject:
1931 Shellback ceremony from the USS Pittsburgh (CA-4) + Indonesia
Silent. Black and White.
Title card: "Part Three"
Title card: "Polliwogs and Shellbacks make merry when the Pittsburgh crosses the equator."
Title card: "Davy Jones comes aboard the uninitiated to King Neptune's Court."
Man in beard (King Neptune I guess). Another man next to him with "Royal Scribe" sign. Uncostumed sailor in dixie cup type sailor's hat hands King Neptune something (stack of shellack certificates I assume.)
King Neptune hands out certificates to US Navy Sailors and Officers.
Title card: "King Neptune gives back sword to Captain Halsey Powell."
Clip of the Captain receiving sword, as Davy Jones looks on.
Title card: "Governor Davis reads the charges to the Royal Court while Miss Davis is crowned as a Royal Princess."
The crowning cermony - high contrast. Sailor with skull & bones looks on.
Title card: "Even the Governor was unceremoniously "ducked" in the Order of the Bath."
Ducking ceremony - high contrast.
Title card: "Carefree Polliwogs disport themselves on the deck of the Pittsburgh."
Scene with the Polliwogs sitting on the deck while the costumed Shellbacks harass/initiate them.
Title card: "A royal reception was given the Governor at Tanjong Priok, Java, where he inspected the Guard of Honor"
Scene of officers debarking ship. Governor in top hat (?) and officers troop the line.
Title card: "The Botanical Gardens at Buitenzorg are world-famed for their horticultural as well as scenic beauty."
Washed out picture. Diving into pool.
Title card: "Medan in Sumatra has many attractions, including beverages of pre-Volstead content"
Scene with Naval Officers at table, drinking. Tropical foliage in background.
Title card: "Bali - a small island east of Java - is one of the most interesting spots in the Orient"
Shots of the landscape, and street scene.
Title card: "The native dress decidedly unconventional from the American viewpoint, but is quite appropriate to the time, the place, and the girl"
Naval officer shakes hands with topless woman. 2 naval officers stand with 3 topless women. A lot of the rest of scene is washed out but there are some shots of indigenous women and children.
Title card: "quaint and curious are the various sights to be seen on this mysterious island, especially at Tampok Spring, where even the superstition of the 'werewolf' still prevails."
Scene with indigenous town and landscape. Scene with group of the town's denizens.
Title card: "Gianjar denotes true Oriental opulence, both in its exterior and interior decorations"
Village scene; pretty washed out.
Title card: "The Raja of Gianjar greets the Governor"
Scene with both men standing.
Title card: "Gifts of food to win the favor of the gods is a devout practice of the natives"
Title card; "END PART THREE"
I looked online and found that this is film of the last shellback ceremony on this ship, taking place early April 1931, before the USS Pittsburgh was decommissioned: